Backup plan?


Hello everyone,

This year has obviously proven to be very difficult for graduates to get job interviews/offers from the big players. I’ve reached final round assessments to several firms like PwC, but haven’t secured a job offer yet. I’m waiting for responses from a dozen other places but feel that I’m running out of options.

I’ve looked into the various accounting qualifications and decided that the ACA is for me. However, as you know, in order to obtain this qualification, you need to have a training contract.

Long story short, I came across this new qualification called ‘Certificate in Finance, Accounting and Business’ (CFAB by ICAEW) which was introduced to act as a ‘stepping stone’ to the ACA qualification.

The good news is that it doesn’t require you to have a training contract and you can take the distance learning/tuition option.
Apparently, the CFAB corresponds to the first 6 modules of the ACA (Professional Stage) and once you have your ACA training contract, you won’t need to redo those modules.

I’m thinking of taking this route which takes about 6 months to complete.

But, would it help me with my applications for these accountancy firms?

What do you guys think? Is it worthwhile?



It would show commitment to working in this area, but you would need to focus on the skills developed from doing this course that the the firms look for when hiring, like determinations, self discipline etc.

The firms arent too concerned with whether you have already got some qualifications, as they are used to teaching it new to everyone, a lot of their intake have never even seen a accounting textbook or perhaps even read an FT before.

You may want to focus on getting good competency examples of the strengths/skills they are looking for than pursuing another qualification, or even gain a bit of life experience through job/travelling from which will give you examples to meet their competencies.

If thats 6 months full time study i would say no, you would be better doing a masters or something.


I’m not sure if it’s 6 months full time.

I’ve got good work experience, though not directly relevant to accountancy. But doing a masters in finance would cost around £20k and I’d rather spend the time (and a lot less money) on a qualification that saves me time when I start a three year contract.

I guess I have to see how the rest of my interviews go and then decide if this is the route I should take. :frowning:


Have you tried to secure a training contract from some of the mid-sized firms? Or even the smaller sized ones?


Yes, I’ve applied to several mid/smaller firms. They tend to take longer to reply.
I’m just planning what I’ll do if they don’t work out in the end.


If you’ve got through to final round PWC then i think you should be able to secure a place with the smaller firms. If they are taking ‘long’ i think phoning up will probably be a good idea.

Personally i wouldnt spend the time and money doing that qualification, because i dont think it’l really help in securing a grad job, maybe sit an ACA exam privately?


The certificate does go towards the ACA qualification. You sit 6 exams of the ACA (professional stage).

I have emailed the smaller firms and they usually respond with a message like: ‘We have had a very high number of applications this year and so the process of shortlisting is taking somewhat longer than anticipated.’

I guess we’re all on the same boat.


Livinggggggggggg it!!!


Those 6 modules are the knowledge modules of the ACA prof stage. If you are with PwC , eg, then you do those in 6 weeks split into two blocks each of 3 weeks. The next stage of professional exams, the application modules take these knowledge modules on to the next level, with the exception of the Law knowledge module which you only study at Knowledge module. Sorry, that was a rather clumsy sentence.
6 months is a long time to do these modules but it certainly does no harm to get into financial thinking mode if accountancy etc is a whole new topic for you. Some graduates find the cramming nature of block study quite high pressured especially when it’s all new topics.


Well, I read Economics at uni, so its not a whole new topic for me. But, as you say, if it’s possible to complete in 6 weeks, it does seem worthwhile.
However, I’m planning to take the distance learning option (without classroom learning) at either BPP or Kaplan financial.
Would it be manageable if I work at it full time?


Hello! did you get through any of those accounting grad schemes?? I am interested in doing the ACA with PWC through their grad placement